Kinship with Soapstone

By Charlotte Matthews

The house where I sit and write this, in Schuyler Virginia, was built in the 1920's for workers at the local soapstone quarry. 

Soapstone is actually called a metaphoric rock which makes me think of metamorphosis, of changing from one from to another. 

This is what cancer asks of us, to make an alteration, to change and adapt, to be malleable.

And soapstone is that, of course. Hence the name, soap. It is soft and can readily be cut with a knife. That's why sculptors like it.

But soapstone is also resistant to acid and heat--and that's why people often use it for wood stoves and countertops.

Maybe those of us who have encountered cancer have a bit of soapstone in us so we can be cut but also have resistance to great danger.